Corgi AA38901 German Fokker D VII Fighter - Hermann Goering, Jagdgeschwader 1 "Flying Circus", September 1918 (1:48 Scale)
"Shoot first and ask questions later, and don't worry, no matter what happens, I will protect you."
- Hermann Goering
The Fokker D.VII was a German World War I fighter aircraft designed by Reinhold Platz of the Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. Germany produced around 1,700 D.VII aircraft in the summer and autumn of 1918. In service, the D.VII quickly proved itself superior to existing Allied fighters, leading to a second "Fokker Scourge." The Armistice ending the war specifically required Germany to surrender all D.VIIs to the Allies at the conclusion of hostilities; nevertheless, the aircraft saw continued widespread service with many other countries in the years after World War I.
Fokker's chief designer, Reinhold Platz, had been working on a series of experimental planes, the V-series, since 1916. These planes were characterized by the use of cantilever wings, first developed during Fokker's government-mandated collaboration with Hugo Junkers. Junkers had originated the idea in 1915 with the first all-metal aircraft, the Junkers J 1, nicknamed Blechesel ("Sheet Metal Donkey" or "Tin Donkey"). The resulting thick-sectioned cantilever wing gave greater lift and more docile stalling behavior than conventional thin wings.
Late in 1917, Fokker built the experimental V.11 biplane, fitted with the standard Mercedes D.IIIa engine. In January 1918, Idflieg held a fighter competition at Adlershof. For the first time, frontline pilots would directly participate in the evaluation and selection of new fighters. Fokker submitted the V.11 along with several other prototypes. Manfred von Richthofen flew the V.11 and found it tricky, unpleasant, and directionally unstable in a dive. In response to these complaints, Fokker's chief designer and engineer, Reinhold Platz, lengthened the rear fuselage by one structural bay, and added a triangular fixed vertical fin in front of the rudder. Upon flying the modified V.11, Richthofen praised it as the best aircraft of the competition. It offered excellent performance from the outdated Mercedes engine, yet it was safe and easy to fly. Richthofen's recommendation virtually decided the competition, but he was not alone in recommending it. Fokker immediately received a provisional order for 400 production aircraft, which were designated D.VII by Idflieg.
Fokker's factory was not up to the task of supplying the entire air force, so their rivals at Albatros and AEG were directed to build the D.VII under license, though AEG did not ultimately produce any aircraft. Because Fokker did not use production plans for their designs, they simply sent a completed D.VII airframe for Albatros to copy. Albatros paid Fokker a five percent royalty for every D.VII built under license. Albatros Flugzeugwerke and its subsidiary, Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW), built the D.VII at factories in Johannisthal (designated Fokker D.VII (Alb)) and Schneidemohl (Fokker D.VII (OAW)), respectively. Some parts were not interchangeable between aircraft produced at different factories, even between Albatros and OAW.
Albatros soon surpassed Fokker in the quantity and quality of aircraft produced. Despite the massive production program, under 2,000 D.VII aircraft were delivered from all three plants, with the most commonly quoted figure being 1,700.
The Austro-Hungarian company MAG (Ungarische Allgemeine Maschinenfabrik AG - Hungarian General Machine Company) commenced license production of the D.VII powered by Austro-Daimler engines late in 1918, production continuing after the end of the war, with as many as 50 aircraft completed.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a German Fokker D VII fighter that was piloted by Hermann Goering, who was attached to Jagdgeschwader 1 "Flying Circus", during September 1918.
Release Date: February 2010
Historical Account: "The Flying Circus" - On completing his pilot's training course, Hermann Goering was posted back to Feldfliegerabteilung (FFA) 2 in October 1915. Goering had already claimed two air victories as an Observer (one unconfirmed). He gained another flying a Fokker EIII single-seater scout in March 1916. In October 1916 he was posted to Jagdstaffel 5, but was wounded in action in November. In February 1917. he joined Jagdstaffel 26. He now scored steadily until in May 1917 he got his first command, Jasta 27. Serving with Jastas 5, 26 and 27, he claimed 21 air victories. Besides the Iron Cross, he was awarded the Zaehring Lion with swords, the Karl Friedrich Order and the House Order of Hohenzollern with swords, third class, and finally in May 1918 (despite not having the required 25 air victories) the coveted Pour le Merite. On July 7th, 1918, after the death of Wilhelm Reinhard, the successor of The Red Baron, he was made commander of the famed "Flying Circus", Jagdgeschwader 1.
In June 1917, after a lengthy dogfight, Goering shot down an Australian pilot named Frank Slee. The battle is recounted in The Rise and Fall of Hermann Goering. Goering landed and met the Australian, and presented Slee with his Iron Cross. Years after, Slee gave Goering's Iron Cross to a friend, who later died on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Also during the war Goering had through his generous treatment made a friend of his prisoner of war Captain Frank Beaumont, a Royal Flying Corps pilot. "It was part of Goering's creed to admire a good enemy, and he did his best to keep Captain Beaumont from being taken over by the Army." Goering finished the war with twenty-two confirmed kills.
Because of his arrogance, Goering's appointment as commander of Jagdgeschwader 1 had not been well received. Though after demobilization Goering and his officers spent most of their time during the first weeks of November 1918 in the Stiftskeller, the best restaurant and drinking place in Aschaffenburg, he was the only veteran of Jagdgeschwader 1 never invited to post-war reunions.
Goering was genuinely surprised (at least by his own account) at Germany's defeat in the First World War. He felt personally violated by the surrender, the Kaiser's abdication, the humiliating terms, and the supposed treachery of the post-war German politicians who had "goaded the people [to uprising] [and] who [had] stabbed our glorious Army in the back [thinking] of nothing but of attaining power and of enriching themselves at the expense of the people." Ordered to surrender the planes of his squadron to the Allies in December 1918, Goering and his fellow pilots intentionally wrecked the planes on landing. This endeavor paralleled the scuttling of surrendered ships. Typical for the political climate of the day, he was not arrested or even officially reprimanded for his action.